Biography: Exploring the Mind, Women's Spirituality, and the Unseen Realms
My fascination with the workings of the mind and the realms of women's spirituality has spanned decades, driven in part by early childhood experiences that ignited my curiosity about the divine and the unseen.
One vivid memory from my childhood stands out. At the age of five, I found myself entranced by the Virgin Mary statue on my mother's dresser. In a fleeting moment, I felt her presence come alive, as she lovingly smiled down at me. This encounter left an indelible mark on my soul, revealing the existence of a liminal space where divine beings watched over and cared for us. The Virgin Mary became a comforting ally, akin to a second mother, providing solace and guidance. Another cherished memory from my early years was the sheer ecstasy I felt when imagining myself as a fairy, waving a magic wand and soaring around our house in the Berkshires, eventually landing in a rubber swimming pool. Even at that tender age, I made a vow to honor and remember the profound joy that experience brought.
Driven by an intense curiosity about the mind, I would frequently visit the local stone library during my adolescence, poring over books on philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics, trying to decipher their secrets. At the age of fourteen, I stumbled upon the writings of Alan Watts. His book, "The Way of Zen," became a catalyst, setting me on a lifelong path inspired by Eastern religions.
Immediately after completing high school, I embarked on a journey across the country to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, where I eagerly joined the emerging counterculture movement. Imbued with the spirit of free-spirited living, I delved into Transcendental Meditation, danced at the Fillmore, established a tie-dye and macrame business, explored the realms of hallucinogens, and cherished my treasured companion, "Be Here Now" by Baba Ram Das. I consider myself fortunate to have experienced such exhilarating and transformative times.
My continued fascination with Eastern religions, healing modalities, women's cultural histories, feminism, and spirituality led me to embark on journeys to sacred feminine sites in Greece, temples devoted to female deities and dakinis in India and Nepal, as well as lands associated with the ancient Amazons in Eastern Europe and Russia. Exploring my heritage in Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia further deepened my connection to my own personal mythology and fueled a passionate quest to learn about women's folk practices and oral traditions. This quest led me to earn degrees in Archaeomythology (B.A), Women's Spirituality (M.A.), and a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Transformation and Consciousness from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
In 1992, a profound spiritual awakening unexpectedly unfolded through a series of frequent spontaneous lucid dreams, many of which were ecstatic in nature. These dreams continued for over thirteen years, during which I encountered spiritual teachers and wisdom guides in various forms, receiving healings, transmissions, and profound insights. I chronicled these experiences in my book, "Guardians of the Gate: An Investigation of Numinous Presence, 'Visions of the Divine,' in Dreams," based on my doctoral dissertation.
For more than two decades, I have provided counseling services in private practice, drawing from both Eastern and Western traditions. My methods incorporate contemplative practices from Tibetan Buddhism and non-dual Kashmir Shaivism, as well as insights from depth psychology, shamanism and Repattering Hypnosis which I founded in 2006. Additionally, I continue to explore the archaeomythology of ancient goddess cultures and folklore traditions in Eastern Europe with my British artist husband Christopher Castle. Periodically, I organize guided pilgrimage tours to Nepal. Currently, I reside part time in Kathmandu, Nepal and Northern California.